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Reproducing global inequalities in the online labour market: valuing capital in the design field

Reproducing global inequalities in the online labour market: valuing capital in the design field
Reproducing global inequalities in the online labour market: valuing capital in the design field

Millions of freelancers work on digital platforms in the online labour market (OLM). The OLM’s capacity to both undermine and reproduce labour inequalities is a theme in contemporary platform economy debates. What is less well understood is how processes of social (re)production take place in practice for diverse freelancers on global platforms. Drawing on a study of freelance designers, we use Bourdieu’s notions of capital and field to explore the specific ‘rules of the game’ and the symbolic valuing of skills and identities that secure legitimacy and advantage in the OLM. We contribute to contemporary debates by illuminating the power of Global North actors to shape freelancer positions and hierarchies in the online design field. The ‘cost advantages’ of Global South workers are counterbalanced by the symbolic legitimising of specific cultural and social practices (specifically in relation to language) and the devaluing of others.

0950-0170
371
Demirel, Pelin
687c839d-b7dc-4914-972a-293ab9f014c2
Nemkova, Ekaterina
bd179570-8602-4834-8742-d95d34768b0c
Taylor, Rebecca
5c52e191-4620-4218-8a61-926c62e087c5
Demirel, Pelin
687c839d-b7dc-4914-972a-293ab9f014c2
Nemkova, Ekaterina
bd179570-8602-4834-8742-d95d34768b0c
Taylor, Rebecca
5c52e191-4620-4218-8a61-926c62e087c5

Demirel, Pelin, Nemkova, Ekaterina and Taylor, Rebecca (2020) Reproducing global inequalities in the online labour market: valuing capital in the design field. Work, Employment and Society, 5 (5), 371. ().

Record type: Article

Abstract

Millions of freelancers work on digital platforms in the online labour market (OLM). The OLM’s capacity to both undermine and reproduce labour inequalities is a theme in contemporary platform economy debates. What is less well understood is how processes of social (re)production take place in practice for diverse freelancers on global platforms. Drawing on a study of freelance designers, we use Bourdieu’s notions of capital and field to explore the specific ‘rules of the game’ and the symbolic valuing of skills and identities that secure legitimacy and advantage in the OLM. We contribute to contemporary debates by illuminating the power of Global North actors to shape freelancer positions and hierarchies in the online design field. The ‘cost advantages’ of Global South workers are counterbalanced by the symbolic legitimising of specific cultural and social practices (specifically in relation to language) and the devaluing of others.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 15 June 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 September 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445042
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445042
DOI:
ISSN: 0950-0170
PURE UUID: 9568c597-bc79-4c6f-9ced-222cd5b97561
ORCID for Rebecca Taylor:

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Nov 2020 17:31
Last modified: 18 Nov 2020 17:31

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Contributors

Author: Pelin Demirel
Author: Ekaterina Nemkova
Author:

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